Regular readers would be aware that the ad space here at the Blog Herald has been changing sometimes daily as I’ve been tweaking ad placements and experimenting with different ad providers to see what works and what doesn’t. I’m looking at putting together a bigger guide to some of the site I’ve tried, with their fors and againsts, but there is one service that I’ve become happy with in terms of reliability, and that’s the FastClick Ad Network
A different way of earning money
Fastclick was a bit of a mystery to me at first because I’ve never worked with a provider that offers CPM rates before. For those not aware of the term, CPM means cost per thousand impressions. If you’re an Adsense user you would have seen a similar term: eCPM, which means effective CPM, basically a way of presenting what you have earnt from Adsense if it was being paid per 1000 impressions.
The Fastclick model complicates things again because they don’t strictly do CPM either, they offer an automated mix of CPM and CPC (paid click like Adsense). They promise that they will automatically deliver a mix to your site that will provide you with strong average returns.
I was particularly impressed with the different sorts of ad spots available from Fastclick. There is a variety of banner and box style graphical ads, as well as text links and text box ads (like Adsense) as well as exotic sounding spots such as Invue’s and Interstitials, and pop-unders (but I’d never use these myself).
This is where some people aren’t going to be interested in Fastclick, because the advertising isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Lots of smily face/ cursor type sites, or well atleast that’s what I see when I look at the ad, but the list is actually very extensive (depending on the shape/ size of the ad) and there are a lot of familiar companies on the list, MSN, Ask Jeeves, SBC Yahoo!, the New York Times….to name but a few. As a company though they don’t force ads on you that you don’t want to display, so you are able to take certain advertisers off your list. The company also flags ads that may have content you don’t want, such as adult, gambling, interactive content, over-bearing content (such as animations, etc…). That catch is that all the ads are turned on for a new campaign and you’ve got to go through them and disable any ads you don’t want, although they encourage you to not do so. I personally suspended any overbearing ads without knocking too many out.
I’m not sure whether I can give specifics on the program so I won’t (the TOS is a bit vauge on this) but I can talk in general terms. For the time being the ad spot on the top right hand side is staying. I’ve compared the performance of the spot with the stats I was getting out of Google when an Adsense spot was there and although Adsense occasionally had some high days it was never as consistant over time. The one thing I really like about the Fastclick model is that its consistant, its bringing in regular returns, sure its not the most amazing eCPM in the world but its regular, where as Adsesne was all over the place. I’ve already had a few people tell me I could be doing better, but I’m happy with the returns. Sometimes its better to have an ad spot that brings a longer term flow of steady income as opposed to spots that sometimes feel like you’re playing the pokies (slot machine).
The traffic equation
Because Fastclick works primarily on a CPM basis it won’t work for low traffic sites, but if you’re delivering a couple of thousand impressions a day its worth a look. I got Slashdotted again recently and the pickup in traffic equated to real dollars. Its also given me a new incentive to drive extra traffic, because where as other programs such as Adsense don’t always deliver higher returns on more traffic (although they can), Fastclick gaureentees an increased return.
Competing with Adsense
Last but not least is the standard Adsense disclaimer: under Googles TOS you cant be running contextual ads or ads that look like Adsense ads. Fastclick doesn’t deliver the ads contextually but based on geography. Fastclick does have ads that look like Google Adsense ads both within the banners and with specific ads themselves. If you sign up do not use these ads if you’re using Adsense as well, and check all the flagged items with the banners/ graphical spots to make sure you’re not delivering anything that might upset Google. I know some people like to push Google with Adsense, I’m not one of these people so I always try to play by the rules.
One last thing
Nearly forgot this one, you need to be delivering at least 3000 impressions a month to get into Fastclick. If not they won’t have you.
So by all means check them out here (aff link). I’m practicing what I’m preaching because I’m running these ads here at the Blog Herald now and although I might experiment again in the future (experimenting is fun after all) they are staying for now because I’m happy with the return, and my advice: they are well worth a look.
I’ve had a similar experience with FastClick. I’ve found they produce very reliable returns. You’re dead on in your review in terms of revenue vs. traffic.
I’ve also found Kanoodle to produce good returns. I’d check them out if you’re still exploring new programs.
I’ll have to give FastClick a look.
I have been having pretty good luck with AdSense and YPN on my sites but as they say, competition is a good thing.
Interesting aside: Yahoo! actually called me on the telephone yesterday to see how I liked their service. They are quite the serious competitor in this business.
I was turned down by Fastclick today for one of my sites. I’m guessing it’s because I have so much other advertising on the site, because the sites gets more visits in a day than they require for an entire month.
I’ve used Fastclick before on a couple of my sites. I found the results disappointing. I was running their tall skyscrapers on my DoggieNews site, and found that 50% of the ads it served up were highly annoying with those “Punch the Monkey” style ads, and flashing red-white graphics.
The cool thing with Fastclick is that you can disable specific campaigns, but in my case, disabling all the annoying ads reduced my earnings to a trickle.
Hope you have luck with it.
I’ve cut alot of the annoying ads out and seem to be going ok, but I’ve also found it depends on the spot as well, some ads sizes have a much better range and quality of advertisers than others do. The recentange and medium rectangle spots (I’m running the medium rectangle) have a long list of advertisers.
I’ve used Fastclick for a year-plus at this point and I rank them among the best networks out there (CPM and CPC alike).
Regardless of whether you choose Fastclick, publishers with decent traffic should definitely look for *some* form of CPM advertising. A mix of CPC and CPM can maximize your revenue on every page view.
I’m considering to put FastClick on my site but still need some more work on traffic to my site.
Thanks for the great review.
We have an original content website. After 3 years or so with fastclick where our traffic has remained about the same for the entire period, we were unceremoniously dumped by them this week.
We never got a ton of traffic — maybe 10k page views a day, nor did we ever vary much. The site was primarily a hobby, but at least we were paying the bills for our ISP.
For the majority of the time we had fastclick, we had the same campaigns and popups/popunders running. As someone else mentioned, it was very repetitive– I”m not sure how many months we had the same “get some smilies” tower running, along with the punch the monkey and get a free xbox.
The great irony of this situation, is that our reputation as a publisher in our arena has never been better, as we have recently had players in our arena seeking us out to do promotions, due to our google ranking, visibility and traffic.
I never thought they were great, but we weren’t looking for much either. Getting dumped was a kick in the teeth. For our site, google adsense is just about worthless, as the adwords don’t pay squat.
We’re looking for a replacement for Fastclick btw. Anyone have any suggestions?
You could try Casale Media or Burst Media — both offer CPM opportunities to publishers. Hope that helps!
I have never tried fastclick after reading the review, i am going to try it as well.
I like Casale Media and TrafficMarketplace better since they offer CPA as well, so you’re pretty much guaranteed good conversion.
I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Yahoo Search Marketing (aka Overture) for CPC. They are a good one if you’re looking for an alternative to AdSense.